Yudenia Rodriguez, 40, was being held in jail without bond on Monday after she fatally stabbed her mother in front of her teenage niece in southwest Miami-Dade, authorities said. Treavor Pound, a pastor who was granted temporary custody of the 15-year-old girl and her two younger siblings, spoke at an emergency shelter hearing. Neighbors Sandy Squire and Natalie Schelmetty and Judge Ellen Sue Venzer spoke about the case.
A 40-year-old woman was being held in jail without bond on Monday after she fatally stabbed her mother in front of her teenage niece in southwest Miami-Dade, authorities said.
Yudenia Rodriguez faces charges of second-degree murder, child abuse with no great bodily harm and tampering with a witness, according to online Miami-Dade Corrections records.
On Monday, Judge Ellen Sue Venzer ordered Rodriguez held on no bond on the murder and tampering charges and set bond at $5,000 for the child abuse charge.
Rodriguez appeared remotely via video for the hearing, and groaned at the start because of the handcuffs behind her back.
“Ms. Rodriguez, you’re charged with killing your mother, OK?” the judge later told Rodriguez, who was represented by a public defender.
Rodriguez responded, “She didn’t die,” before her attorney cut her off and told her not to say anything.
The judge then ordered her not to have any contact with a 15-year-old girl who allegedly saw the crime. The judge referred to her as Rodriguez's daughter.
“No. My daughter wasn’t there,” Rodriguez said, before her attorney and the judge urged her not to speak.
The Department of Children and Families said the girl is Rodriguez's niece.
Rodriguez lived with her mother Sonia Santiesteban, 66, and three children on the 17300 block of Southwest 232nd Street. But on Sunday afternoon, Rodriguez fought because Santiesteban wanted her to move out, and Rodriguez pushed her mother to the floor, Miami-Dade Police said in an arrest affidavit.
“Ms. Santiesteban’s 15-year-old granddaughter began calling 911 when Ms. Rodriguez slapped the 15-year-old girl several times and removed the telephone from her hand to hinder or delay police contact,” police wrote.
Rodriguez then armed herself with a knife and fatally stabbed her mother, the affidavit said.
Neighbor Sandy Squire told NBC 6 the teenager “ran out screaming ‘She has a knife, she has a knife.’”
Rodriguez invoked her right to remain silent, refused to speak with investigators and was arrested and taken to jail, the affidavit added.
As the bond court hearing began, Judge Venzer asked Rodriguez, who was leaning backwards, if she was alright.
Rodriguez asked for the handcuffs behind her back to be taken off.
“I’m in too much pain,” she said, groaning.
Rodriguez whimpered, and Judge Venzer asked corrections officers what was going on. One officer said that Rodriguez had to be cuffed that way because she was aggressive. Rodriguez disagreed.
She told the judge that she was bent over backwards because she was hurting.
Corrections officers then got Rodriguez a chair. She then told the judge that she was not physically injured.
Judge Venzer ultimately recommended that Rodriguez be seen by a doctor immediately.
Rodriguez’s attorney asked the judge not to order psychological evaluations right away. Judge Venzer did not, but she did ask the attorney to get those evaluations quickly.
Neighbor Barbara Cruz said that Santiesteban was the biological grandmother of the 15-year-old and decided to adopt her and her two smaller siblings to keep them together.
During an emergency shelter hearing Monday afternoon, temporary custody of the children was given to the family's pastor, Treavor Pound of Redland Church of the Nazarene.
“As the pastor of the church and the pastor to these kids, they're like family to me and we can take them in,” he said.
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